"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Thursday, December 29, 2011

JIB JAB 2011 Year n' Review and Apologies

2011 year in review.  Here's hoping all had a very Merry Christmas and may all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

My Apologies for those regular readers who may have experianced delays on my blog. The delays in down loading and popups which may have occured were the result of malicious software.  The culprit and problem was located, the malicious software removed.

An Abuse of Power - A Review of the Jackson County Commission's Dog & Pony Show Acts

Lets review ten (10) acts of the current Jackson County Commission which have resulted in costing citizens thousands upon thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal expenses and brought great discredit upon the citizens of Jackson County. There are more despicable and questionable acts of this commission but these are the ten highlights of what could be described as an "abuse of power."

There was the (1) Courthouse Security fiasco and the cancellation of the recommended (2)personnel hiring system which resulted in the resignation of the County Personnel Board President and others. This action by the commission allowed for the hire of commissioner relatives. "Education is discrimination," says Commissioner Smith. A county commissioner only has power when they are sitting as a group. For some reason the commissioners seem to think they have some sort of individual power, they do not. Chairperson Bias was right in the below video concerning Jack Smith's inappropriate intervention into the personnel process. (3) Abuse of Power - "Code of Alabama Section 11-3-11 Powers and duties generally. (a) The county commission shall have authority:" Note the law indicates the "county commission" has authority, not an individual commissioner. The only person on the Jackson county Commission which has authority in day to day operations is the Chairperson of the Commission.

There was the (4) Engineer fiasco involving different organizations in town. Attempts to influence the commission, complete with Chamber of Commerce and religious leader intervention into the show. http://arklite.blogspot.com/2010/01/jackson-county-commission-special.html

When religious leaders and the Chamber become embroiled in local politics (Which is certainly their right to do so and my right to comment.) there is a reason for the outside political involvement. Is it concern or is it a political party move?

Clemmons and Bias attempted to hold their own version of a Special Called Engineer hire meeting outside of the published agenda. Complete with religious and Chamber input. Which leads me to wonder about the political planning involved. They were reminded that law required them to stick to the published agenda. But for such a group apparently law, policy, proceedures and leadership matter naught.

Allow an outside agency to select the engineer said the right wing political party influence. There's more to that act than meets the eye!

Enter more scandalous decission making in the commission's circus. (5) Personnel policy and personnel decision making in secret, outside of the county and calling it mediation. I call it an excuse to conduct county government operations in secret under the color of law.  (6) Commission agenda  policy was deliberated at the secret mediation sessions.

Bias had no problem muck raking a county engineer applicant through the mud with alleged charges which were not valid. Firing another license inspector for positive drug tests as reported by officials. (7) Now enter a convicted felon, theft 2 and robbery3, the Grandson of a County Commissioner, deals are struck. The License inspector is hired, a law enforcement position involving licensing and permitting enforcement and inspection. http://www.waff.com/story/15964911/jackson-county-employee-faced-felony-charges-prior-to-being-hired  and this WAFF story. http://www.waff.com/story/16407093/jackson-co-may-have-full-time-license-inspector-with-criminal-record

That is not all in the decision making failures of the circus antics of the county commission costing the tax payers thousands upon thousands of dollars paid to out of county attorneys.

There was the (8) County Park Dog & Pony show, a vote trading scheme? The placement of Commissioner Horace Clemmons on the County Park Board. for what purpose? To end the Jackson County Park Board so the County Commission could control the funds. Jack Smith was the key to the act. Clemmons was placed on the Jackson County Park Board with 2 votes of the commission, Jack Smith and Horace Clemmons.

In my opinion, a trade, a deal was struck. Smith's grandson's job for Clemmons' scheme concerning the park. Control of the park money is necessary for Clemmons' stated goal of a park at the Walls of Jericho Parking area. Clemmons stated early on in his political foray into county politics, "If I accomplish nothing else I want to see a camping area park at the Walls of Jericho parking area." When these issues were brought up to the commission by me, Bias, Clemmons and Smith attempted intimidation and made threats.

The commissioners approach to issues in several cases have been deceitful, secretive and manipulative.

Lets not forget the  TVA-in-lieu-of-tax fiasco (9) where closed meetings were scheduled and deals were made between the commission and legislative delegation, in secret.

And now for their closing act of 2011: (10) The county commission decreases and removes part of the  Probate Judges pay in the amount of $18,000.00 +. Completely ignoring Amendment 92 of the Alabama Constitution prohibiting such actions. Ignoring the fact it was the County Commission which authorized the Probate Judges pay level during his current term in office.

Looking at the totality of these events involving the county commission, the singular example of bad government which represents the most costly (thus far) in money and principle to the citizens of Jackson County are the court ordered mediation instances relating to the county engineer and the county park.
In these cases decisions were made and deliberated outside of the commission agenda.  Deliberations were made out of the county in secret sessions. Personnel policy and  the agenda policy were changed in these deliberative sessions in secret. This is an example of why the judiciary should use extreme care in making decisions in which the legislative branch of government would normally make in an open session. Mediation must never be utilized as an excuse for conducting legislative decission making in secret, which apparently occurred in this case.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jackson County Commission Meeting - Probate Judge issue continues

Today was a Work Session and Regular County Commission Meeting.

The big item during the commission work session was a presentation by Mr.Gary Lackey, Attorney for Judge Floyd Hambrick related to the commission's vote to remove $18,000 in pay from Judge Hambrick to be deducted monthly. The commission has failed to adhere to Amendment 92 of the Alabama Constitution prohibiting the raising or lowering of an elected officials pay while they are in office. Previous articles on this blog related to the issue along with article links from the Daily Sentinel.  http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/probate%20judge

Statement of Gary Lackey, Attorney for Judge Floyd Hambrick presented to the Jackson County Commission at the work session. click on image for an expanded view.
Scottsboro Attorney Gary Lackey, representing Probate Judge Floyd Hambrick. Commission Chairperson Sadie Bias, seated at table, looks on.

Letter presented to each Commissioner, County Attorney and County Administrator from Garry Morgan concerning the issue with Amendment 92, Constitution of Alabama It was noted that Commission Chairperson Bias tore her letter in half. I asked of Ms. Bias, "Is that the way you deal with letters from citizens?" Ms. Bias had no reply.

Agenda of the County Commission Regular Meeting. Click on image for an expanded view.

To complete the "Dog and Pony Show" antics of the county commission during the work session, some on the commission seem to think the court records housed in the basement of the Courthouse are theirs to determine the disposition. A statement was made that office space is needed and the court records should be moved. Apparently some commissioners in their arrogance fail to realize the records are not theirs to determine the disposition.

Let the Sun Shine In - Open Government Resources

Mission of the Sunlight Foundation: "The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike. We are committed to improving access to government information by making it available online, indeed redefining “public” information as meaning “online,” and by creating new tools and websites to enable individuals and communities to better access that information and put it to use." http://sunlightfoundation.com/about/

OPEN GOVERNMENT IN ALABAMA http://open.alabama.gov/

NATIONAL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COALITION, ALABAMA: http://www.nfoic.org/alabama-foi-resources

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Alabama: http://www.rcfp.org/ogg-search

Alabama Attorney Generals Office Guide for Public Officials:  A Manual for Alabama Public Officials 
Measurements for "Good Governance in Cities:" http://www.gdrc.org/u-gov/good-governance.html

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Scottsboro City Council

Last night was a work session and a regular city council meeting.  The big issue was the decision concerning the city radio system. The city will purchase a new digital radio system off of the state bid list. This will cost approximately $213,000. Several companies made presentations at the work session but in the end the city council voted for purchasing the new radios off of the state bid list.
Various area Communications Companies listed spoke about the new city radio system. Some attempted to clarify statements others opposed the issue, items 2-5.  Mr. Lewis Pleasant spoke about access issues in the Dear Meadows Estate subdivision located off of Gant Rd. and Shelby Dr. A question of a bond was mentioned. Apparently the city cannot locate any bond concerning the subdivision project. There is a road in the subdivision which was supposed to be complete which is not complete, item 1 on the agenda.

In other business: 1) The city Attorney made a presentation concerning the purchase of additional property for the Cedar Hill Cemetery. This property belongs to Mr. Larry Ward, is approximately 9 ac more or less and it was reported valued at $162,000 per appraisal. Mr. Kennamer, the City Attorney, stated Mr. Ward would sell the property at this time for $120,000. Several council members stated they would like to see the property prior to a purchase. There was no action taken on the issue at this time. Mr. Kennamer stated if the council waited till after the first of the year Mr. Ward would probably sell the property for the amount plus tax cost. 2) Apparently The Impact Learning Center is interested in moving to the old city police station on John T. Reid Parkway; lease, rent or sale options were not discussed. 3) CDG Engineering was awarded the engineering bid for the South Broad St. paving project in 2 parts - Professional Engineering Services, $22,900.00 and Construction Engineering Services $52,500.00 4) Patrick Lumber company was awarded the bid for installation of the City Hall Generator System for $17,194.00.  5) City council meeting dates for Jan 2, 2012 and Jan 16, 2012 will be moved to the following Monday as the dates listed are holidays.

Scottsboro City Council, "Faces of Decision" at last nights City council meeting concerning the discussion about the city radio issue.
Council Member Garry Speers. (Other members names are visible on their name plate.)

                        Scottsboro Mayor Melton Potter
Scottsboro Police Chief Ralph Dawe listens intently to the discussion concerning the pros and cons of the new radio system and other vendor proposals. Last night's decision was a critical decision for the people of Scottsboro and the Police Department.
City Attorney Steve Kennamer reviewed the proposals and had asked many questions last week relative to warranty and service information.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all from http://arklite.blogspot.com "Watch for Snakes n Scottsboro."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Jobs for Jackson County - Brown and Forman Cooperage Mill, Stevenson, Alabama

$7.5 Million  investment into plant site - Governor Bentley makes presentation of Alabama State Seal to Brown and Forman Executives Jill Jones, Executive Vice President and Greg Roshkowski Vice President and General Manager. Governor Bentley stated, "We work close with local government to bring projects such as this to our state...Here you will find workers that work hard." The plant is expected to begin operations by May of 2012. When fully operational the mill will provide 30 citizens with jobs.

 In a prior press release Stevenson Mayor Ricky Steele stated, "We are excited about this quality of a company selecting our community to build their next mill." Mayor Steele commented today, "This is huge, this is the first ground breaking ceremony we have had since 1995."

WAFF-TV Ch48 Video link and story to event. http://www.waff.com/story/16335011/new-jobs-coming-to-stevenson-with-addition-of-stave-mill 

Daily Sentinel Article: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_2ce9e504-2773-11e1-8368-0019bb2963f4.html

Goodrich A. Rogers "Dus," President and CEO, Jackson County Economic Development Authority commented: "We were very pleased with the turnout and the company was amazed and excited about the program. Mayor Rickey Steele and his folks did an outstanding job of getting everything set up. They went all out. Jill Jones, Executive VP Brown-Forman Corporation, was very impressed and really enjoyed meeting our folks. We look forward to their growth here in Jackson County."

State Senator Shad McGill and EDA CEO Dus Rogers discuss the new Cooperage Plant in Stevenson.

Jackson County Chamber of Commerce CEO Rick Roden makes Friendship Award presentation to Stevenson Mayor Ricky Steele for a job well done in preperation for this event.

Clarion article: http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3054:stevenson-welcomes-brown-forman&catid=42:clarion-rotation-stories&Itemid=142

Information about the Brown and Forman Corporation: "Values - Our past is defined by generations of visionary individuals and decades of progress. Our future will be determined by continuity in our direction, commitment to our strategies, and confidence in our capabilities."

"Over many years, Brown-Forman has developed and nurtured a set of core values that have become deeply ingrained in our consciousness and our culture. These time-honored values — integrity, respect, trust, teamwork, and excellence — remain real and relevant today, guiding us in the conduct of our day-to-day business."

For more about the Brown and Forman Corporation go to   http://www.brown-forman.com/company/

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jackson County Commission

Monday was a regular meeting of the Jackson County Commission. Daily Sentinel Report on the commission meeting http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_5d7fe976-25e2-11e1-806a-0019bb2963f4.html

Important issues were: 1) a $500 one time pay increase. this increase did not apply to elected officials.
Commissioner Clemons did not approve the $500.00 one time pay raise.

2) Sheriff's department to purchase 2 radar speed units from Commissioner Clemons pay fund.
Jackson County Sheriffs Department Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen discusses the need and operation of the radar units.

3) Then we have the issue of the license inspector. The commission voted on a 3 to 1 vote to hire a full time license inspector. the vacancy announcement will be made within the county personnel system only.
Update-Dec. 16, 2011: Permanent License Inspector position anouncement, click on image for an expanded view.

Commission Chairperson Sadie Bias hired the current License Inspector, Bradley Tyler Smith.

At last Thursday's work session the commissioners agreed to advertise the position within the county system and outside of the county system. At Mondays commission meeting Commissioner Allen was not happy with the decision and voted against the issue. Mr. Allen stated, "that is not what we agreed on at Thursday's meeting." After the commission meeting Monday Mr. Allen commented to me that the Commission Chaiperson Sadie Bias and the License Inspector's Grandfather, Commissioner Jack Smith had apparently already made up their mind about the hire. Indicating they would hire Smith's Grandson Bradley Tyler Smith. Article from the Daily Sentinel: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_c3ef7d62-25e1-11e1-ad81-0019bb2963f4.html
The current Jackson County Commission from left to right seated at the table. County Attorney-John Porter; Commissioner Gaylon Stone; Commissioner Horace Clemmons; Commission Chairperson Sadie Bias; County Administrator Sandra Erickson; Commissioner Jack Smith; Commissioner Jack Allen. Commission web site: http://www.jacksoncountyal.com/commission.html

Bradley Tyler Smith was hired at the Public Works Department and then hired for a temporary license inspectors position. The License Inspector is an admitted felon, theft 2nd degree and robbery 3rd degree, Criminal Case #2010- 544 & 545, the Grandson of Commissioner Jack Smith.
Commissioner Jack Smith, District 1, involved with the hire of his Grandson as the County License Inspector. Mr. Smith has been involved in other controversial issues including the appointment of another Commissioner to the County Park Board with a total of 2 votes, his and Commissioner Clemmons. It has been reported there was a trade of supporting votes concerning the appointment of Commissioner Clemons to the Park Board for the hire of Commissioner Smith's Grandson.

The License Inspector is enrolled in Drug Court but has not completed the legal proceedings.

A license inspector in Alabama has the authority of law enforcement in enforcing the licensing laws of the State and County. In the case of Jackson County the license inspector is a felon. Apparently if you are a relative of a County Commissioner law does not matter.

Bradley Tyler Smith was not bonded upon hire or immediately after the hire. The commission purchased a bond of $25,000 from Auto-Owners Insurance Co. signed by the local agent Thomas Harding on Nov 14, 2011 after the issue was brought forward to the commission recently. The Commission Chair and County Attorney stated they were not aware of any requirement for a bond and previous inspectors had no bond. The License Inspectors bond has not been approved by the Governor. Alabama law requires a license inspector's bond to be approved by the governor.

Articles from this blog on the issue of the license inspector. http://arklite.blogspot.com/2011/11/jackson-county-commission-ch-48-news.html  and http://arklite.blogspot.com/2011/11/jackson-county-commission-work-session.html
WAFF-TV Ch 48 coverage of the story.  http://www.waff.com/story/15981371/jackson-county-officials-ask-for-better-checks-in-hiring-process  and  http://www.waff.com/story/15964911/jackson-county-employee-faced-felony-charges-prior-to-being-hired

If this county commission didn't have enough problems concerning failed stewardship of Jackson County. They are attempting to take the pay from the Probate Judge Floyd Hambrick. This document was provided to me yesterday concerning the taking of his pay. The bottom line of this document states, "Please begin with his December payment and deduct $1646.70 monthly through October of 2012. This will be 11 deductions totaling $18,113.66. The pay removal order is signed by Sadie Bias Chairperson of the Jackson County Commission. Previous blog entry about this issue. http://arklite.blogspot.com/2011/03/jackson-county-commission.html    Previous Daily Sentinel article: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_963de83c-4f53-11e0-b368-001cc4c03286.html  Judge Hambrick Responds: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_77036bd8-5663-11e0-8eb1-001cc4c03286.html  Judge Hambrick's Attorney, Gary Lackey, had this to say about the county's actions as reported in the linked Daily Sentinel article. ""The action of the county commission in purporting to reduce Judge Hambrick's compensation is in clear violation of the Alabama Constitution," said Lackey. "[The constitution] provides that the compensation of a judge shall not be reduced during his or her term. This is the same rule we have in the U.S. Constitution, as our founding fathers knew that this protection is important to an independent and fair judiciary."" The following is a quote, "Constitution of Alabama, Amendment 92 (ratified) "Increasing or Decreasing Salaries, etc., of State and County Officers....nor shall the legislature or any county of the state in any manner or by any means decrease, or authorize the decrease of, the salary, fees or other compensation of any such officer, during the term for which he is elected or appointed..."   http://law.justia.com/constitution/alabama/CA-245935.html   How much more is this county commission going to cost the citizens of Jackson County before they are gone? What in the hades is wrong with the commissioners and public officials supporting them, can they not read?

Jackson County Commission Agenda, click on image for an expanded view.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Scottsboro City Council

On Monday Dec 12, 2011 the Scottsboro City Council held a work session prior to the regular meeting.

The Scottsboro High School Student Body elected Amanda Rodgers as Scottsboro City Council Student Representative.
Scottsboro High School link: http://shs.scottsboroschools.net/  Go Wildcats!
City Council Student Representative Amanda Rodgers with Scottsboro City Council President Matthew Hodges.

Jackson County's 911 call center such as the one pictured above will be affected by Scottsboro's purchase of new radio equipment.

The big issue involved the purchase of new radio equipment for all city agencies. If all new digital equipment is purchased it will cost the city of Scottsboro in excess of $200K. Happy Thompson made a presentation along with Lamar Miller and Mike Boylan. The purchase of the new equipment would allow trunking of radio communications. Wiki has a good article on "Trunked Radio Systems." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trunked_radio_system After the discussion last evening the question seems to be, to trunk or not to trunk? More on trunked radio systems http://www.mwc.co.uk/frames_trunk.htm

If the trunking system is taken down for whatever reason the question is what will be utilized for a backup? Backup Communications is a must! Failed communications has been experienced during natural and man made disasters due to a centralized location of all communications resources. Other questions involve: Who will work on a new digital system, will all work have to be accomplished out of town? Will the North Alabama emergency net frequency be utilized and accessible on the system? Apparently other area departments who will not have the digital equipment will not be able to communicate with each other. There was a motion made to table the issue at the regular council meeting until more definitive information could be gathered on the subject.

This is a problem which must involve the entire county, not just Scottsboro.

Other issues discussed at the work session were the resurfacing of South Broad Street project and FEMA fund reimbursement for the so called "Gravity Wave" storm in April 2009. $30K will be put aside for the purchase of emergency power generation equipment at City Hall. Mayor Potter reported that $61,657 has been approved for payment and a $15,450. balance remains unpaid.

In other business: 1) Jim Flowers was appointed by Mayor Potter to the Planning Commission.

2) A public hearing was held for a liquor license for the Raceway located at 2409 S. Broad St. 1 citizen spoke against the license being granted. Mr. Hall stated there should be a prohibition on alcoholic beverages in Scottsboro. He stated, "alcohol usage causes the crimes of spousal and child abuse to rise." He also stated crime in general increases as a result of alcohol abuse. The alcohol beverage license was approved by the City Council.

City Council Agenda, click on image for an expanded view.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Civilian Nuclear Power, A Year in Review - Focus on TVA

At mid year CBS News and other news organizations looked closely at U.S. commercial nuclear facilities and asked the question, is a Fukushima type disaster inevitable in the United States?

2011 has been  a year which bears close scrutiny for environmental organizations relative to the nuclear industry. Serious problems for the civilian nuclear power industry have emerged. Cover-ups and failed facilities, a year in review. Issues involving nuclear power on this blog -  http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/Nuclear%20Power

In this installment I will look at concerns which have not been adequately addressed by our governments nuclear power regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission - NRC, nor the nuclear industry itself.

Nuclear Power safety and security is lacking. A clear and present danger, problems not resolved. http://www.propublica.org/article/nrc-waives-enforcement-of-fire-rules-at-nuclear-plants

This year during the annual physical security tests at civilian nuclear reactors, 8% of the nuclear plants failed the test. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-06-29/us/nuclear.plants.security_1_nrc-nuclear-power-plants-nu...clear-fuel-facility?_s=PM%3AUS

Worse, security and safety at TVA Nuclear Plants is appalling and dangerous. At Watts Bar a manager was dismissed due to a serious security breech.


At Browns Ferry the NRC discovered a lack luster management culture failing to pay attention to causative factors for plant failures. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/jul/14/tva-defends-browns-ferry-after-reports-equipment-o/  " Shortly after the valve failure, NRC found that the valve may have been inoperable for about 18 months." http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/oct/08/tva-nrc-to-work-together-on-safety/

CBS news held 2 exposes exposing intimidation attempts including threats of murder carried out against TVA employees reporting safety hazards. The first video is above, the second below. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/19/earlyshow/main20080633.shtml

At Bellefonte, a cancelled nuclear construction permit was reinstated in a stripped nuclear plant without one singular vote of approval from the NRC Board. Local politicians all showered praises on the TVA while ignoring serious safety problems relating to site geology, hydrology, river flow reversal at the inflow-outflow cooling area and ground collapse related to sinkhole, Karst Terrain, problems discovered on the new Environmental and Safety reports for the AP1000 reactors.

Local environmental groups attempted to require the TVA via the NRC to place forward a new nuclear construction licensing process due to the old permit failed to identify problems identified in the new AP 1000 reports. The NRC denied the request.

The TVA and NRC is involved in a Federal legal action due to their ignoring site safety and the law thus endangering the public. Arguments have been made in the case before the Federal Court of Appeals. A decision will be made soon. Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League vs The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

March 31, 2009: Yesterday the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) filed a Petition for Review in the US Court of Appeals of the Bellefonte nuclear power plant in Alabama. The League seeks judicial review of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s reinstatement of construction permits for two nuclear reactors, the so-called Bellefonte 1 and 2. BREDL Press Release | Petition for Review | NRC's voting record

BREDL website concerning Bellefonte -  http://www.bredl.org/nuclear/Bellefonte.htm

The TVA Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Timeline
1974 - Construction permit issued for two reactors at Bellefonte
1985 - Unit 2 work is suspended when the reactor was considered 58 percent complete
1988 - Unit 1 work is suspended when the reactor was considered 88 percent complete
1992 - Engineering work resumed to prepare for restart of construction.
1994 - Finishing Bellefonte is estimated to cost $2.6 billion; engineering work halted due to nuclear debt construction.
1996 - TVA studies option of converting plant to combined-cycle, natural gas.
1998 - Gas conversion option dropped; TVA offers plant to the Department of Energy to make bomb-grade tritium. DOE picks existing TVA plants to produce tritium, local citizen interaction defeats DOE efforts to produce Tritium at Bellefonte.
2001 - Texaco proposes using Bellefonte as site for coal gasification plant. Chattanooga financier Franklin Haney offers to finance completion of Bellefonte as a nuclear plant.
2002 - Texaco drops proposal; TVA turns down Haney offer.
2004 - TVA enters into discussions with other utilities and joins Nu-Start to plan for a new nuclear design for the site.
2005 - Bellefonte is selected as the test site for the Westinghouse AP-1000, one of the first of the next generation of nuclear plants containing a "passive emergency cooling system."
2006 - TVA cancels NRC permits for original Bellefonte reactors, claiming the units are too expensive to complete and the new reactor design would be better at the site; TVA begins cannibalizing Bellefonte Units 1 and 2
2007 - Application filed for combined operating license for AP-1000
2008 - TVA reverses decision to scrap original reactors and petitions the NRC to reinstate the deferred license for Bellefonte's original reactors; Nu-Start changes the AP1000 site to Plant Vogtle in Georgia.
2009 - NRC reinstates the construction permit for Bellefonte unit 1 to a terminated status, TVA decides to focus on one reactor for the immediate future
2010 - TVA completes study on costs of finishing the original reactors or building new and decides to complete the original reactors; TVA completes an Environmental Impact Study; NRC approves moving reactor Unit 1 to a deferred status;
2011- TVA Board approves Bellefonte completion; NRC approves renewal of construction permit
2013- Projected Bellefonte construction start date after fuel is loaded into the Watts Bar nuclear reactor
2019- Bellefonte projected completion date

Ignore the danger, ignore the law, ignore the problems: problem solving the nuclear way, a path to disaster?
The problem is politics and money. The nuclear industry has supplied Federal Politicians with large amounts of campaign money; state, county and local governmental entities are supplied with TVA in-lieu-of-tax payments and decades of promises, some promises true, many false.
Jackson County, Alabama is a depressed area with a decreasing population, approximate current population 53,000. 14% of Citizens income in Jackson County are below the poverty level, 78% have a high school education or higher, 22% have less than a high school education of which 6% are functionally illiterate.

Current amount of river water withdrawal for Jackson County Alabama is 6.5 million gallons per day. A Bellefonte nuclear plant would increase the daily Tennessee River water withdrawal 4.5 times the current rate for Jackson County.

The current Bellefonte nuclear facility was built over Karst Terrain. The TVA claims there are no sinkholes on the property, but that is a dangerously false statement. There are 2 known large sinkholes on the Bellefonte nuclear plant property as demonstrated on the TVA/USGS 1970 topographical map. One of the sinkholes is located next to the proposed AP1000 Unit 3 site, another large sinkhole exists near the cooling towers in a fenced in area. Geological Survey maps available at the University of Alabama Cartography division indicate there are 58 caves within 5 miles of the Bellefonte area. The entire Bellefonte area is classified as a likely sinkhole area. The NRC dismissed the geological evidence and historic data presented to them in an official report in 2008 during the Environmental Scoping Session.

Bellefonte is located in an active seismic zone, less than 2 miles from the Sequatchie Fault and adjacent to a minor fault along River Ridge which is less than 1/4 mile east of the Bellefonte nuclear reactors.

The Bellefonte Nuclear Reactors have a series of 45 foot vertical supporting anchor rods drilled into the Limestone rock to stabilize the reactor structure. Rock which is noted for its ability to fracture and allow moisture seepage, characteristics of Karst Terrain geology. There have already been 8 instances of vertical supporting tendon cable couplings breaking over the years, the last being 2 years ago. It is possible that the occasional small ground tremors, along with the alkalinity of the limestone rock, are contributing factors affecting the supporting tendon structure breakage. This is part of the critical primary containment structure for the nuclear reactor and represents a containment structure failure a decade prior to the nuclear reactor becoming operable.

The river current in the area of Bellefonte's outflow and intake pipes reverses current at times of fast flowing river current. The area is a large elongated bay area along the west river bank where the river forms a very large deep water eddy within the bay. This problem was not identified in the original safety and environmental reports. It was reported in the recent AP1000 safety and environmental reports. The problem will result in the warmed outflow going back into the water inflow, which is supposed to be cool water.

There are meteorological changes in our area due to climate change. The frequency of tornadic storms have increased, thus increasing the risk of catastrophic damage to the nuclear facility. Also, during the period of draught 3 years ago, it was noted that ground collapse was evident within the Bellefonte reactor security zone.

In August of this year, the TVA approved the construction continuation of the Bellefonte Unit 1 nuclear reactor. The continuation of a stripped, cannibalized nuclear plant which the NRC reinstated the cancelled construction permit prior to the TVA approving to finish its construction. The approval of an antiquated Bellefonte nuclear construction permit appears to be for the sole purpose of circumventing modern safety standards and newly discovered environmental issues not previously addressed in the original 1970's environmental reports.
Another issue for the current debate: the Bellefonte Nuclear Reactor Unit 1 will cost the TVA ratepayers $9 billion dollars if it is completed by 2019. TVA can not afford Bellefonte, it has a $25 billion dollar debt, over $25 billion dollars owed in interest on its debt. Long term TVA commitments concerning fuel options, leases and the debt bring the TVA's long term financial commitments to approximately $68 billion. The TVA has proposed a financing scheme to sell the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant and the John Sevier Combined Cycle Gas Plant to fund the completion of Bellefonte. This scheme has not been approved by the full TVA Board and does not meet the requirements of the TVA Act; it is another example of TVA's failure to disclose important aspects of its decision making process to the public as required by the Federal Sunshine Act.

The question: will the NRC and the TVA follow good sense and responsible governmental practice to protect the citizenry from error, defect and deceit as required by nuclear safety law, or will they support the nuclear energy industry by placing money before the value of human life? The current trend of the TVA and NRC demonstrates the citizenry must take a back seat to the nuclear corporations hunger for money over life.

Learn more about the dangers of commercial nuclear power and sustainable energy solutions at the BEST/MATRR web site, http://www.matrr.org "why, because it matters."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bill Gates Goes Red, Chinese Red.

Bill Gates enters the Anti-American nuclear world.

Could Mr. Gates invest in a sustainable, clean energy source providing jobs for Americans? No, he goes to China and proposes more nuclear power to be developed and built in China due to lacking safety standards and low wage socialist labor.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203501304577084450143654704.html Gate's reasoning, "China has a lot to contribute because it's solved many of the problems of poverty..." Yea, at the expense of American workers. Mr Gates should inform those who serve in the slave labor prisons about contributions because they spoke out against the tyranny of the communists.

Every major component of a nuclear power plant is manufactured out of the United States. Support Nuclear Power, you do not support manufactoring jobs for American workers. Here is who you support: Areva ( Framatome purchased B&W nuclear 1993; Areva purchased Framatome 2003) France, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Japan, Westinghouse-Toshiba Japan, General Electric/Hitachi Ltd. Japan, CNNC-China National Nuclear Corporation China.

NIRS report: "Foreign Companies, Workers are Big Early Winners Under Federal Loan Guarantees for Nuclear Reactors" http://www.nirs.org/press/07-01-2010/